The US Navy is offering its Chilean counterpart soon-to-be-retired Lockheed Martin S-3B Vikings as a potential replacement for the country’s Lockheed P-3B Orion maritime surveillance aircraft.

The offer is part of a plan to transfer about 100 S-3Bs to allied nations on an “as-is” basis as the type is withdrawn from operational service over the next four years. Other South American countries being briefed on the aircraft include Argentina, Brazil and Peru.

USN officials attending last month’s FIDAE air show in Santiago held detailed talks with the Chilean navy about its requirements. Options being considered include a re-winging programme for its P-3Bs, as well as acquiring replacement aircraft.

Lockheed says it is in “preliminary discussions” with the service on a P-3B life-extension programme.

The Chilean navy is also considering options to replace its Pilatus PC-7s, which are used for maritime interdiction roles. The aircraft have five years of service life left, and the service is also looking at whether the replacement effort could be linked to the Chilean air force’s emerging trainer contest.

Source: Flight International